At the beginning of the year, I set an intention to seek clarity in every area of my life – from spiritual, to relationships, to career, and everything in between. And as we approach the second month of the year, I’m proud to say that I’ve been hard at work setting this intention into motion.To me, the difference between goals and intentions is that goals are achieved and completed, while intentions are ongoing. They’re something we carry through every channel of our lives. They are a learning experience, a growth process, and above all else, a chance to see everything we thought we knew in a completely fresh light.
A perfect example is my approach to fitness. It took me a while to see fitness as more than being healthy, looking toned, or fitting into a certain size, which, to be honest, were the main reasons I used to hit the gym. It’s also why having a steady, effective routine was difficult for me to keep up. General research consensus actually shows that when you’re motivated by your appearance or a general idea of ‘being healthy’, chances are you won’t maintain it. I used to groan about the gym as much as the next girl – but when I started treating fitness as a lifestyle that benefits every aspect of my life, I stuck to it. In fact, I’ve become addicted to it.
Personally, I’ve found that I am the most consistent and effective when working with a trainer. Working with someone who expects me to show up is an easy way to stay committed to my workouts. If you’re someone who often flakes out on exercise, I recommend buying and scheduling a series of sessions in advance so that you feel required to attend. But if you prefer not to work with a trainer, try setting a schedule for yourself and committing to just 10 consecutive days to start. Seeing the beginning of a transformation in my body and in my performance has always been great motivation for me to continue.
Beyond just the physical transformation, the hormones released during regular workouts also have long-term effects. They stimulate your brain, boost your mood and energy levels, and help you focus. They also help you to be present in your life and business, and they even make you want to eat better.
When it comes to how I eat, avoiding diet trends and taking an individualised approach to my nutrition is where I’ve seen the most results. I’m a big believer in fundamentals. I’ve even gone so far as to consult specialists to figure out what foods don’t break down well in my body and what my body needs more of (by the way, an elimination diet is another great way to see how your body reacts to specific foods and all you need is time and patience). I’ve worked vitamins and protein shakes into my everyday routine (pea protein, acai, blueberries, almond milk and Manuka honey is a favourite combo). But nourishment comes in many forms.
While it doesn’t sound like it’s directly related, for me, clearing the mind is just as essential to keeping physically fit. I’ve been discovering more and more that learning to silence your thoughts and be present in the moment is key to unlocking maximum potential, and it helps you connect with and listen to your body on an entirely different level. Lately, I’ve been working hard at this. I’ve started detoxing – from social media, to playlists, to apps, and even acquaintances. I’ve focused on decluttering my living space. The more I let go of, the more space I have to let the right things in. And speaking of letting the right things in, I’ve also begun studying the lessons of the spiritual teacher and guru, Osho, and I’ve been working on meditation – something that isn’t necessarily easy for me, but that I’m slowly improving at with practice.
One thing I always keep in mind when it comes to both fitness of the mind and body is that struggle makes us stronger. Pain is not always something to run from, for it is what growth is made of. The trick to true change in every area of your life is to look within. For when you have a strong foundation, the rest will follow.
From the February 2018 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia